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Idaho judge’s role change enables Biden to make appointment

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 25, 2021

Associated Press

BOISE — The retirement of a federal district judge from regular active service will enable President Joe Biden to appoint a new judge for Idaho.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill plans to take senior status in August after 26 years on the federal bench in Idaho, Idaho Press reported Saturday.

Winmill, 68, sent a letter to Biden last week with notification of his plan to assume senior status.

“It is my intention to continue to render substantial judicial service as a senior judge,” Winmill wrote.

Winmill’s move will effectively increase Idaho’s available judges when a replacement is made.

Former longtime U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge also took senior status in July 2015, but continued hearing cases for years. A new judge was not appointed to replace him until August 2017, leaving Winmill as the district’s only full-time judge for more than two years.

The federal court system subsequently declared a judicial emergency in Idaho because of the shortage. Visiting judges were brought from other states to hear cases.

Idaho is one of three states with only two federal district judges. The state has not been granted an additional judgeship in 60 years, though caseloads have soared.

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